Gunfire Reborn is the Hero Based Roguelite I Didn’t Know I Needed in My Life

Roguelikes and Roguelites are easily my favorite genre of the past half decade or more. A quick look back at this blog and you can see a trend developing on the games I’ve been enjoying. There are static titles like Overwatch and the random retro game, and sprinkled between them all are Roguelikes. Hades is easily the most prolific of the bunch, but other winners are Rogue Legacy and Slay the Spire. And then there’s the games I haven’t even written about yet like Dead Cells and Rogue Legacy 2 which have eaten up hours upon hours, days and evenings, of my life. One game, however, has earned a new spot on the coveted DownStab archive of mentioned Roguelites.

Gunfire Reborn released in 2021on PC, with Xbox and Playstation versions coming out in the following months. The game features a colorful art style, anthropomorphic animals and player characters and enemies, and high paced run-and-gun action. What sets the game apart from other shooters are the inclusion of heroes to choose for each run, as well as the aforementioned Roguelite gameplay. Much like Overwatch or Apex Legends for example, the hero you pick at the start of the game comes with a bevy of abilities and powers, most of which are incredibly beneficial to combat and easily sway fights in your favor. You’ll start with a player friendly character with great intro abilities first in order to get the hang of Gunfire’s systems. After you’ve gotten used to things and started unlocking the games suite of 6 heroes (10 with DLC included) you will certainly find one that compliments your play style.

Fun heroes are great and all, but what really hooked me from the beginning was Gunfire’s Roguelite elements. The game is essentially an arena shooter which has you clearing room after room, en route to a big boss. The layout and enemies change with each playthrough, as do the rewards you can get for clearing said rooms. Goblets are your prize for beating each zone of enemies, and these grant your specific hero upgrades to their repertoire of skills. The big cat Lei Luo, for example, can get upgrades to his Chain Lightning ability, increases the number of enemies it can hit with each cast. Sprinkled throughout stages are Occult Scrolls, which are tinier augments to your character in general. Think things like additional elements damage, critical chance, or even a random chance to not consume any ammo when firing. There’s a ton of them, and they really do make each run feel special. I was getting major Hades vibes picking up these goodies and seeing what to try next!

We can talk about the game’s additional end game modes like the added difficulty of Ascension runs, or the permanent upgrade talent progression tree, or the 4-player multiplayer, or even the game’s semi-new seasonal content and challenges, but we’d be treading the same waters we did we chatting about Hades. Or Rogue Legacy. Or quite literally every Roguelike out there. There are some benchmarks a “Good” game needs to have, more specifically a “Good Roguelike” needs to have, and I can safely attest Gunfire Reborn has them. If they didn’t the game would be incomplete. The precedent laid out in the years leading up to its release has spoiled us with expectations of countless, engaging runs time and again, in order to get that all too familiar and oh so desired “Just one more run” feeling. Replayability is a huge crux of any game in my opinion, and that can not be more true for a Roguelike. Safe to say you’ll get plenty with Gunfire.

What you might not get with Gunfire is an incredible amount of variety. Don’t get me wrong: the game has a lot going for it with tons of replay value. But Gunfire shows all of its cards relatively early in your playthrough. Different characters, unlockable difficulties, the game altering Reincarnation mode, and more give you a lot to do, but it’s a bit of the same each time. With similar games, or even just in other shooters and action games, a new mode might present a truly unique variance on gameplay. Rogue Legacy does this well, with certain abilities you’d expect core to the game (like jumping, for example) being stripped away or dramatically altered in a run. I cannot hold this against Gunfire but it was something I would have liked to see. And perhaps it is there and I just haven’t experienced it yet! There’s a lot to do in Gunfire Reborn, and I admittedly do not have any DLC at the time of this writing, so my grievance may be unjustified.

I was able to get a good amount of time with the game on both a desktop with Mouse and Keyboard, as well as our nifty new Steam Deck. The game plays exceptionally well on both, and I’d recommend you play on the controls you prefer: if you’re a console stick shooter then the Steam Deck will feel at home to you (which is where I am). But the precise flick and aim on the Mouse is incredible, and I’ll likely be trying to play here more just to get better at PC gaming in general. Take a look through this blog and you’ll likely be able to count the PC games on one hand (and here’s a hint, they’re almost exclusively Left 4 Dead games). So your mileage may vary, but rest assured it handles well.

Despite the somewhat sameness the game can give, it’s still an incredibly good time. It’s difficult to find things to be upset about with Gunfire Reborn, as there simply aren’t any. I suppose if you don’t like the visual presentation that could be something that might hold you back, but personal aesthetics aside, the game delivers. I was impressed from the first couple playthroughs just how much the game had going for itself, and how straight up fun it was to play time and again. As mentioned above, this sort of feeling is crucial for any good Roguelike/Roguelite to have, and when a game does have it, you’re on to something really fun. Time will tell if Gunfire ranks up there with the likes of Rogue Legacy and Hades in my personal pantheon, but I have a strong feeling it’ll break that threshold soon.

Until then, I’m going in for another run. Are you with me?


DownStab has been a personal endeavor of mine for many years. Please enjoy the content and let me know if you have questions, comments, or just want to connect. And as always, game on.

– Jason J

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